The Getty Kidnapping: How Much is a Grandson’s Life Worth?

 

Jean Paul Getty refused ransom demand for grandson

Jean Paul Getty (1892-1976) was one of the wealthiest man in the world. In 1966 the Guinness Book of Records named him as the wealthiest man on the planet with a fortune of $1.2 billion ($9.1 billion in 2017). He earned his fortune in the oil business, and in 1996 The Wealthy 100 ranked him as the 67th richest American who ever lived. Continue reading

Keep One Hand Free to Slap the Inventor

Bad ideas inventions fire alarm traps hand

We all know that pulling a fire alarm as a prank shows serious lack of judgment. When it comes a lack of judgment, however, few could surpass the inventor of the Fire Box Trap. Continue reading

Whether You Have ADD or Are an Introvert, the Isolator May be For You

Hugo Gersback The Isolator Science and Invention magazine
The above pictures were featured in the July 1925 issue of Science and Invention magazine.

Ritalin has only been available since the 1950’s, but people have had difficulty with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) forever. Inventor Hugo Gernsback offered his solution for highly-distractable people when he invented The Isolator in 1925. Continue reading

A Smile So Sharp It Will Split Atoms

German radioactive toothpaste quack medicine

From 1940 to 1945, if you wanted to acquire radioactive material in Germany, you didn’t have to engage in cloak-and-dagger shenanigans; you simply had to go to the nearest pharmacy and purchase a tube of Doramad toothpaste. 

Doramad was produced with small quantities of radioactive thorium. This wasn’t a manufacturing accident; it was an intentional marketing strategy. 

Translation: “Its radioactive radiation increases the defenses of teeth and gums. The cells are loaded with new life energy, the bacteria are hindered in their destroying effect. This explains the excellent prophylaxis and healing process with gingival diseases. It gently polishes the dental enamel so it turns white and shiny. Prevents dental calculus. Wonderful lather and a new, pleasant, mild and refreshing taste. Can be applied sparingly.”

Aside from being the poster child of quack medicine, Doramad played an interesting role in the race to develop the atomic bomb. U.S. intelligence agents were alarmed to learn that unusually-large amounts of thorium were being bought up by Germany. This suggested that German research toward the atomic bomb had progressed further than previously had been thought. 

It was only as the war drew to a close that investigators learned the real reason for the thorium shipments. Savvy German entrepreneurs were decades ahead of Dwight D. Eisenhower’s “Atoms for Peace” proposal. They were stocking up on radioactive material so they could make money selling a ground-breaking product. Their marketing slogan was, “Use toothpaste with thorium! Have sparkling, brilliant teeth—radioactive brilliance!”

Read more about toothpaste and the race for the Bomb here

A Idiot In Scotland Might Find Himself Kilt

 

Scottish insults words for idiot

You can tell a lot about what concerns people by looking at their language. Eskimos have many words for snow. The ancient Greeks had six words for love. It doesn’t take a lot to conclude that these were important things for these cultures.

Based on this, one can reasonably conclude that Scots are quite concerned about being inconvenienced by people of low intelligence. Scotland has at least twenty words and phrases for the word idiot.

Peter Capaldi Doctor Who "I understand. You're an idiot."
Peter Capaldi shows his true Scottish colors as the Doctor in BBC’s Doctor Who episode “Under the Lake” when he says, “I understand. You’re an idiot.”

These words include: bampot, diddy,  div, dunderheed, dolton, eejit, goon, heid-the-baw, huddy, numpty, tube, choob, wallaper, warmer, galoot, dobber, gommy, roaster, daftie, and neap.

Asleep at the Senate

Charles Dawes Vice President tie-breaking vote asleep
30th US Vice President Charles Dawes (left) and 48th US Vice President Mike Pence (right)

On February 7, 2017, Vice President Mike Pence became the first Vice President to cast the tie-breaking vote in the US Senate for the confirmation of a cabinet member. Under the terms of the Constitution, the Vice President presides over the Senate, but does not have a vote except for the purpose of breaking a tie. With the Senate evenly divided on the nomination of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education, Vice President Pence cast his vote in favor of confirming the President’s nomination, thus earning himself one more place in the history books.

One of his predecessors had the opportunity to have that place in history.  Continue reading

Much Ado About Nothing Protesting

funny protest signs

The right to peacefully protest is a fundamental right of free society. Protests have led to advancement in civil rights, advancement of political causes and even the downfall of oppressive governments.

And sometimes one wonders what the big deal is.

Continue reading